Board of Directors

The Whatcom Land Trust Board of Directors is comprised of volunteers whose skills, experience and expertise represent our diverse community. Together, they share a love and respect for Whatcom County’s outdoor places and natural resources. Whatcom Land Trust’s governing board provides leadership, policy development and community connections while building trust with our donors, partners and community. Together, with a talented and committed staff, the board fulfills its mission to preserve and protect and Whatcom County’s lands, waters, wildlife habitat and natural resources to benefit people and species in perpetuity. We are grateful for the many hours and generous resources they secure to further the work of Whatcom Land Trust.

Rod and Jennifer 8.1.14 Raft

Jennifer Wright and former board member Rod Burton (front) raft the North Fork Nooksack River, winding their way through more than 1,000 acres of WLT protected land. Their leadership and commitment to WLT’s mission has educated, inspired and motivated people to help conserve over 20,000 acres of land in our county.

OFFICERS

Chris Moench
President  

Ceramic Artist, small business owner
“I support Whatcom Land Trust because it enables every resident of our county to take tangible action to restore and protect the natural heritage of our landscape in ways that will be felt and appreciated by the generations to come. I have served on the board since 1990.”

Lynn Berman
Vice President

Lynn Berman joined the Board in 2016 and is the current Board Vice President. Originally from the S.F. Bay Area she and her family moved to Whatcom County in 1978 after living in Norway for six years. Lynn founded and operated four businesses for over 30 years, helped establish the Bellingham Farmers Market and the Barkley Merchant’s Association, has been an advocate for sustainable agriculture, local and just food systems, and a mentor for young farmers and chefs. She was a board member of the Whatcom Humane Society for six years and an advisory board member for the Mt. Baker Vocational Technical program for over 18 years. She has volunteered extensively with WA Tilth Producers, Seattle Chef’s Collaborative (now FORKS), Slow Food USA, Slow Meat, Maple Alley Inn, and the Whatcom Land Trust. Other interests include hiking, sea kayaking, biking, traveling, and textile and fiber arts.

Lynne Givler
Secretary

 Lynne Givler joined the Board in 2015 and currently serves as Board Secretary. She graduated from the Evergreen State College in 1977 with a degree in marine sciences. After working several field and lab jobs, she began her career in parks and recreation in 1979 as a Naturalist with Seattle Parks, and spent her last ten years with Seattle Parks as a Project Manager at the Woodland Park Zoo. In 2001 Lynne began working at Whatcom County Parks as the Operations Manager, and retired in 2011. During her years with Whatcom County Parks she worked closely with the Land Trust on a number of projects, giving her an opportunity first-hand to see the great work WLT does in the community.

Jennifer Wright
Treasurer

Jennifer Wright joined the WLT Board in 2011 and is serving as the Board Treasurer. She currently works as an accountant at Metcalf Hodges, CPAs.

 

DIRECTORS

Dave Brown

Dave Brown works as an attorney at Brett McCandlis Brown. He joined the Board in 2016.

Loch Clark

Laughlan (Loch) Clark has lived in Whatcom County since 1967, after starting out in Canada, then living in other locales in the U.S. He graduated from Lynden High School (1972), Western Washington State College (English, 1976) and the University of Puget Sound Law School (1980), then started a law practice in Bellingham in 1981. Loch joined his current firm in 1989 and is it longest tenured member. His practice focuses on lending law, business, and real estate. Loch has served on various non-profit boards over the decades, including Whatcom County Mental Health Board, Northwest Youth Services, and most recently Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County. His interests include music, particularly playing jazz, and also traveling, gardening, bicycling, and hiking.

John D’Onofrio

John D’Onofrio joined the Board in 2015. John is the owner and managing editor for Adventures NW magazine.

Steve Hollenhorst

Steve Hollenhorst has been Dean of Western Washington University’s Huxley College of the Environment since 2012. Prior to that he was the Associate Dean of the College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho, founding director of UI’s award-winning Building Sustainable Communities Initiative, founding director of the UI McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS), and co-editor of the international academic journals Society and Natural Resources and the International Journal of Wilderness. Prior to that he was on the forestry faculty at West Virginia University. While there he served as Treasurer and Vice-Chair of the West Virginia Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. He also founded the West Virginia Land Trust and was a founding board member of the Monongahela River Trail Conservancy and the West Virginia Rivers Coalition. He earned his B.S and M.S. degrees from the University of Oregon, and Ph.D. from the Ohio State University. His research is in the areas of land use policy and management; land trusts and conservation easements; and environmental leadership. He joined the WLT Board in 2016 and currently also serves on the boards of the North Cascades Institute and Cloud Mountain Farm.

Rand Jack

Rand Jack has lived in Whatcom County for 40 years as a lawyer, college professor and bird carver. In 1984, he was a founding Board member of Whatcom Land Trust and has been very much involved in the life of the Land Trust ever since. Rand has been involved to a greater or lesser extent in nearly every WLT land transaction. For three years he was the environmental overseer of a proposed 650,000-acre sustainable forest project in Tierra del Fuego, Chile. He hikes, sea kayaks and snowshoes and has traveled all over the world to destinations of natural grandeur and ecological richness.

Danne Neill

Danne Neill joined the WLT board in 2016. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest provided Danne with a lifetime of wonderful experiences in the natural world and a love of the amazing place where she feels so fortunate to live. Her work as a real estate broker gives her a keen sense of how important it is to preserve wild spaces for future generations.

Carl Prince

Carl Prince has lived most of his life in Washington State, with the last 35 years in Whatcom County. A graduate of the University of Washington, majoring in outdoor recreation in the College of Forest Resources, Carl spent his entire professional career in the parks and recreation field. He worked for the National Park Service, US Forest Service, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and Whatcom County Parks & Recreation. During his career he held positions as a wilderness ranger, interpretive specialist, park planner, trails facilitator, park ranger, park manager, and outdoor program coordinator. Carl retired in 2009 and joined the WLT Board in 2010. An avid saltwater kayaker and outdoor enthusiast Carl brings a parks and people perspective to the Board.

 

STAFF

Rich Bowers
Executive Director 

In October, 2015, Rich Bowers stepped into the Executive Director position for the Whatcom Land Trust as part of the Trust’s ongoing efforts to build on its more than 30 years of local conservation.  Bowers brings more than 25 years of nonprofit experience to his new role. In the past Bowers has served as the President of Whatcom Land Trust’s board of directors and as Executive Director, Interim Director and board member for both national and local nonprofits, as well as a past race committee member and volunteer for the annual Ski to Sea race event.  Through his professional and volunteer positions, he has successfully fostered diverse national, regional, state and local coalitions and partnerships by working with agencies, tribes, industry, legislators and nonprofits seeking to protect and restore natural land and water resources. Rich moved to Bellingham in 2001 from Maryland, and began consulting with Whatcom Land Trust on staffing and fundraising issues.  Prior to becoming Executive Director for Whatcom Land Trust, he was a founding member of the Hydropower Reform Coalition and served as Western States Coordinator for the Coalition from 2007 until 2015.  From 1992 until 2003, Bowers was Conservation Director and then Executive Director for the national river conservation and recreation organization American Whitewater, and in 2005 Bowers acted as Interim Director for the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association.

Karen Parker
Office Manager/Visual Communications 

Karen has more than 15 years experience in visual communications. After graduating from college she started her own graphic design and web business. In addition to freelancing, she has also worked in real estate marketing building websites and she worked with local design firm Fifth On Sixth creating marketing materials and creating and editing video for broadcast television commercials. In addition, she has made two short films which screened at the Limelight theatre.

Jill Clark
Director of Philanthropy

Jill Clark has more than 25 years of experience in communications, fund and organizational development in Whatcom County. She has run successful annual campaigns, major and planned giving programs, grants, events, and capital campaigns serving in director positions with Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Foundation, Kulshan Community Land Trust, WWU College of Fine & Performing Arts, Bellingham Technical College and Mount Baker Theatre. She serves on the Whatcom/Skagit planning team for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, coaching development professionals in effective philanthropy. Jill has a keen interest in deepening relationships between people, water, land, and natural resources leading to actions that create conserved, sustainable and thriving communities.

Gabe Epperson
Conservation Director  

Conservation Director Gabe Epperson has a background in Urban Planning and large-scale environmental planning with a focus on public outreach. He was the Planning Director at Envision Utah for 5 years, completing the Blueprint Jordan River and Wasatch Canyons Tomorrow projects, which included thousands of Utah residents and led to the formation of the Jordan River Commission and the protection of hundreds of acres of wildlife habitat and recreation lands in the Salt Lake Metro area. Mr Epperson moved to Bellingham in 2015 to do land acquisition and conservation planning for the Land Trust. Since joining the Land Trust he has helped create a new Land Conservation Plan with public input from hundreds of Whatcom County residents and has led numerous land purchases and conservation easement acquisitions protecting many new farms and habitat areas.      

TBA
Communications & Outreach Director 

Jennifer Mackey
Stewardship Director

While attending Western Washington University for a B.S. in Environmental Science, Jennifer spent her summers interning to gain hands-on experience. She accomplished stream profile surveys, vegetation surveys, fish surveys, small mammal surveys in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. For the Mount St. Helens Institute she also co-led the Youth Stream Team, a program aiming to bring at-risk youth outside to gain a better understanding and appreciation of their natural surroundings. After graduating and completing other internship opportunities, Jennifer joined the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC), an AmeriCorps program, to gain riparian restoration experience with Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association. She later joined the Whatcom Land Trust team in her final year with WCC as a Stewardship Associate, and then filled in as the Interim Stewardship Director. Jennifer then spent the following year with the City of Bellingham’s watershed team in aquatic invasive species prevention before joining Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group as a Restoration Technician for over a year. When the Stewardship Director position opened up, she didn’t hesitate to jump at the opportunity in joining the evolving Whatcom Land Trust team once more. On the weekends when she is not leading a work party, you can find her hiking, backpacking, camping, climbing, biking, and exploring natural areas throughout Washington.

Morgan Bender-deMoll
Conservation Specialist  

Morgan Bender-deMoll hails from the Oregon Coast, where he spent every possible minute in the ocean, rivers, and forests of the Coast Range before earning a degree in ecology and continuing play outdoors as a wilderness ranger, adventure guide, and environmental educator.  After many years of living out of backpacks and drybags Morgan transitioned to land trust work, spending time in Napa, California and Jackson Hole, Wyoming before settling down in Bellingham to manage Whatcom Land Trust’s conservation easements and assist with land protection projects.

Dennis Connor
Volunteer Coordinator

Dennis Conner came to Whatcom Land Trust after 38 years as a Park Ranger with Whatcom County Parks. Dennis worked within several communities garnering widespread interest for the parks and enjoyed the support of hundreds of volunteers while maintaining over 20 park lands. Dennis was on the Board of Directors for the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce, Bellingham visitors and Convention Bureau, Whatcom County Youth Diversion Program, Ferndale HS Vocational Education Department, Ski to Sea race committee, Highland Games, Hot Air Balloon Festival. His depth of experience dealing with a myriad of land and public relation issues is huge benefit to our organization. He is an enthusiast supporter of the collaborative work being accomplished at the Land Trust.

                              

TBA
WCC Stewardship Associate